winter

There is a fine distinction between "listen to" and "to listen"

Ibn Hasdai writing in the 13th century said: "[Man] was given two ears and one tongue, so that he may listen more than speak." It is a privilege just to listen. And there is a fine distinction between "listen to" and "to listen." When we "listen to" we are actively engaging our senses of sound for a particular audible cue. But, when we choose "to listen," we are opening ourselves up to the sounds of silence and solitude; to ways and words unanticipated, unscripted and often—unfamiliar. We do not choose these words; they choose us.

~ Albert Lewis

I found I had less and less to say

I found I had less and less to say, until finally, I became silent, and began to listen. I discovered in the silence the voice of God.

~ Soren Kierkegaard

Listen

Listen
Now is the earth most still.
No plows break the bare and frozen ground.
No creature stirs from its earthbound
burrow, tunnel, nest.
Matter is quiet.
Its clamor
hushed, we hear the rising of the star,
the morning light,
the seed within itself unfolding,
glowing, growing.
All is quiet and the earth most still.

~ "Listening" by Annabel Keely

A dangerous listener

Being prophetic means, first and foremost, being a dangerous listener.
~ Robert J. Wicks

Compassionate listening

The fundamental premise of compassionate listening is that every party to a conflict is suffering, that every act of violence comes from an unhealed wound. And that our job as peacemakers is to hear the grievance of all parties and find ways to tell each side about the humanity and suffering of the other. We learn to listen with our "spiritual ear," to discern and acknowledge the partial truth in everyone—particularly those with whom we disagree. We learn to stretch our capacity to be present to another's pain.

~ from "Just Listen" by Leah Green in "Yes!", Winter, 2002

May you grow still enough to hear

May you grow still enough to hear the small noises earth makes in preparing for the long sleep of winter, so that you yourself may grow calm and grounded deep with-in. May you grow still enough to hear the trickling of water seeping into the ground, so that your soul may be softened and healed, and guided in its flow. May you grow still enough to hear the splintering of starlight in the winter sky and the roar at earth’s fiery core. May you grow still enough to hear the stir of a single snowflake in the air, so that your inner silence may turn into hushed expectation.

~ Brother David Steindl-Rast, OSB

Carve out a day every week

Carve out a day every week, or an hour a day, or a moment each hour, and abide in loving silence with the Friend. Feel the frenetic concerns of life in the world fall away, like the last leaves of autumn being lifted from the tree in the arms of a zephyr. Be the bare tree.

~ St. John of the Cross

Perhaps a huge silence might interrupt the sadness

If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt the sadness of never understanding ourselves.

~ Pablo Neruda

Silence isn't an emptiness

It is becoming more and more clear to me that silence isn’t an emptiness. It isn’t so much an IT as a THOU. Let’s see if we can deepen our own life of prayer by moving beyond thinking that silence is an emptiness, a backdrop or a condition, into thinking and actually experiencing silence as a mode of relationship with the infinitely present Beloved.

~ Cynthia Bourgeault

The ancient weave of silence

Mirroring the creation of the universe, all great things have come from the ancient weave of silence. It is a part of us that we must welcome home.

~ Frank MacEowen
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